Investing in a More Interconnected Network of Fellows and Leaders at the Aspen Institute: Expanding Partnership with the John P & Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation

April 8, 2024  • Aspen Institute Staff

Under the Aspen Institute’s five-year strategic plan, we are committed to building a thriving interconnected global community out of our many leadership networks committed to addressing humanity’s biggest challenges. We’re excited to share that, to fuel this vision, the McNulty Foundation has invested $2 million in the Aspen Institute to catalyze transformational leadership on an enterprise-wide scale. We are deeply grateful to trustee, Anne Welsh McNulty, for her partnership, support, and belief in the potential of the Institute’s networks of Fellows and leaders.

Building upon 15 years of partnership, this new investment and seed funding from the McNulty Foundation represents a pivotal moment in our journey together. This investment looks to amplify and connect the incredible efforts of the Institute’s dozens of Fellowships and leadership programs while building more opportunities and capacity for the interconnected community of leaders called for in our strategic plan. With the support of the Foundation, we will be able to:

  • Bring staff together from across programs focused on leadership development efforts for a first-ever organization-wide retreat on leadership that will be held in October 2024 to build relationships, share practices, and learn together.
  • Drive impact by investing in the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) team’s capacity to strengthen AGLN Fellowships and share learnings and practices with other Fellowships across the Aspen Institute. The AGLN team will widen its focus to serve as a resource hub for current and aspiring Fellowships across the Aspen Institute to develop and refine theories of change, offer greater support to a Fellow’s impact efforts through high-impact ventures, and to sustain leaders committed to long-term impact by offering community experiences and convenings that enable connection, support, and collaboration.
  • Increase access for Fellows across the Aspen Institute to McNulty-supported platforms, resources, and funding opportunities by positioning these resources more centrally within the Institute, including: the John P. McNulty Prize, the McNulty Catalyst Fund, new and existing leadership stories and case studies, and new funding opportunities that will become available later this year to spur how Fellows across our networks can self-organize and strengthen de-centralized network gatherings around issues and places.
  • Strengthen innovation within AGLN Fellowships by engaging in and leading efforts that will deepen or scale the impact of Fellowships and the lifelong impact journeys of Fellows. Learnings from the Fund will be shared with other Aspen Fellowships to inspire and inform future Innovation Funds and the evolution of our Fellowships.
  • Invest in critical new systems such as the enterprise-wide CRM to build capacity for cross-network opportunities and lifelong learning that benefits all programs and people in the Aspen Institute’s networks.

In partnership with the McNulty Foundation, this work will be driven by Alexis Ettinger, Managing Director, Strategy, Tommy Loper, Vice President, Enterprise Development, and Dar Vanderbeck, Vice President, AGLN. Looking to the year ahead:

  • Alexis Ettinger, in her new role within the Aspen Institute’s Strategy Office focused on advancing the new enterprise-wide strategic plan, will work with programs across the Institute to drive new opportunities, partnerships and impact especially within the strategic priorities of leadership and societal trust building.
  • Tommy Loper will continue his cross-cutting work to imagine and develop our goal to build an interconnected community of leaders by 2028 that brings people in our networks together around purpose, places, and practice while also looking to weave together offerings across the Institute’s networks that can help a first-time participant find an offering that’s right for them or the alumnus of any of our program offerings to identify what can come next in their learning journeys with the Aspen Institute.
  • Dar Vanderbeck and the AGLN team will continue to lead the effort to strengthen the Institute’s leadership work by building a vibrant network of Fellowships within the AGLN and across the Institute, connected by a thriving global ecosystem of leaders committed to responding to humanity’s greatest challenges.

Anne Welsh McNulty and the McNulty Foundation have focused their work to support and invest in leaders at critical inflection points on their journey to creating deep and lasting social impact. As we reflect on the next 75 years with the clarity of the strategic framework and the urgent leadership and impact being called for now around the globe, we couldn’t be more grateful for their partnership. Together, this partnership brings incredible wisdom, practice, and potential that exists across programs and teams, and Fellow and leader networks, to ignite human potential to build understanding and create new possibilities for a better world.

Enterprise Initiatives at the Aspen Institute is a new capacity to build a more interconnected and global community of Fellows and leaders who are supported with lifelong learning as well as opportunities and resources to build deeper understanding, relationships, and possibilities for a better world.

The Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) is a growing, worldwide community of nearly 4,000 high-integrity, entrepreneurial leaders from over 60 countries who share a commitment to values-based leadership and to using their creativity, energy and resources to tackle the foremost societal challenges of our times. Because of their demonstrated accomplishment and abilities, they have been selected to join one of 13 geographic or sector-specific AGLN Fellowships around the world. Fellows convene annually at the AGLN’s flagship event, the Resnick Aspen Action Forum. For more information, visit aspeninstitute.org/agln.